Hello Norway!

We’ve been on a LOT of ferries in our travels, but this was our first “Fast Cat” and it may very well be our last. The ride was NOT pleasant, to say the least…ugh.

Backing into the ferry was something new for us too. We were last on…

…and first off on the other side. Hello Kristiansand Norway! 

We drove directly to our first night’s campsite at Lesdesnes, which apparently is uniquely situated, per the sign above.

We knew we’d be camped near a lighthouse (Fyr in Norwegian), but we did not realize that the entire compound is a living museum. We spent a few hours walking the property, touring the buildings, viewing museum exhibits, and entering German World War II trenches.

Lindesnes Fyr was lit in 1656 as the first lighthouse in Norway. The current tower was built in 1915.

In addition to the buildings belonging to the lighthouse, keeper’s cottages, sheds, and boathouses, Lindesnes Lighthouse also has a visitor center inside the nearby mountain with exhibitions, a cinema hall, a cafeteria and museum shop. They welcome motorhomes to spend one night for just $10. Well worth the price for such an interesting location.

Our next encampment was along the shores of Listafjorden at the marina in Feda.

The town of Feda borders both sides of an inlet from the fjord and climbs up the surrounding hillsides.

Boathouse row.

The next afternoon we stopped at Helleren, which is a large cliff overhanging two houses at the end of the Jøssingfjord, on the southwestern coast of Norway.

Thehouses were built in the early 19th century and abandoned in the 1920s. The houses are preserved as they once were, as houses for poor families subsiding on a combination of farming, sheep herding and fishing.

Here we are staying in a pretty typical “Bobil Camp.” Bobil is motorhome in Norwegian. Many communities allow free overnight parking for self-contained vehicles in specified areas such as this. This one included a WC. Norway is one of the most camper-friendly countries we have visited.

Our view towards the sea across a picturesque graveyard with a charming little chapel.

The scenery here is amazing. Unfortunately, there are not nearly enough pullouts for photographers.

Not bad for a “drive-by” shot, eh? It seems there is a fjord around every curve, and there are lots of curves here too.

One of the many marinas we have passed. There is no shortage of water for boat owners to explore here.

Another windshield shot.

Tonight we are camped on the shore of Tyssefjorden in the town of Erfjord. Free of course.

Tomorrow night we may actually pay to camp (!) in one of Norway’s National Parks.

 

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Our Last Days in Jutland

We spent a satisfying morning traipsing about the vibrant town of Viborg. We aimed in the direction of the cathedral to find the most historic section. We almost didn’t go inside since we’re a bit burned out on touring houses of worship, but we were richly rewarded for taking the time to do so.

Looking down the aisle towards the main altar.

The seven branched candelabra was crafted in Lübeck, Germany in 1494. Fully cast in bronze, it stands at a height of approximately 2.7 meters. The foot of the artifact rests on three lying lions.

The Danish artist Joakim Skovgaard spent fives years (1901-06) painting the frescoes that cover the walls. He later redecorated the church ceiling (1912-13).

In the medieval tradition, the frescoes represent principal Bible stories from the Old and New Testaments. They are widely considered to be one of Denmark’s major works of art.

The golden altar was designed by H. B. Storck and modeled in gilded metal on oak by the sculptor, professor C. C. Peters in the style of the metal altars of the Middle Ages.

The dramatic bronze light fixtures were designed by Joakim Skovgaard in 1911.

Our walking tour took us past many traditional danish buildings.

Including many fine examples of timber framing.

The Danes are beautiful people. Check out this cutie.

Town Square.

Bronze sculptures of homeless people by Jens Galschiot are displayed throughout the town.

After driving further north we located a free campsite near Aalbaek. Once settled in we took a walk over the dunes to the beach nearby.

Today we reached the northern tip of Jutland and tonight we are camped at a farm overlooking this field of wheat. The farmer drove his combine until well after dark harvesting his crop.

Tomorrow we board the ferry to Norway!

Jutland, Denmark

Jutland is the large peninsula that contains the mainland regions of Denmark. It separates the North and Baltic seas.

After visiting lovely Ribe (last post), we continued our drive up the west coast. It was a lovely drive, but wind gusts and occasionally downpours precluded most outdoor activity.

Snapped some shots of this pretty lighthouse at Hvidesande between cloudbursts.

Giant sand dunes often blocked our view of the ocean. Parts of this area reminded us of the barrier islands in the southeastern states of America, others of Cape Cod.

I managed to walk out onto the beach for a quick photo.

The sea looked angry.

Free camp overlooking the bay at Lemvig.

A classic Danish church with surrounding graveyard. Each grave is contained within its own meticulously groomed garden plot surrounded by a low hedge.

Interesting side notes: Under the Danish constitution the Evangelical Lutheran Church is the state church. Instruction in Lutheran beliefs is given in schools. Women were given the right to seek ordination in 1947.

Each altar contains the same elements, whether it is a humble village church or a stately cathedral.

We spent two pleasant nights with Boondockers Welcome hosts near Viborg. They generously shared their lovely home and beautiful garden. They also shared some great suggestions for what to do in their area.

The Moesgaard Museum near Aarhus is dedicated to archaeology and ethnography. What a fascinating place!

Prehistory presented in a breathtaking architectural setting.

Seven reconstructed extremely life-like prehistoric human species looked on as we walked down the “evolution stairway” to the main exhibit area.

Al gets up close and personal with a distant relative.

Aren’t they amazing?

We spent all afternoon exploring the Stone, Bronze, Iron and Viking Ages as well as the medieval exhibition. Exhausting but absolutely fascinating.

After all that, we ventured out onto the building’s rooftop for some fresh air and great views.

Prior to the erection of the new museum five years ago exhibits were housed in the 18th century Moesgaard Manor House.

On our way back to our campsite we passed this Thomas Dambo recycled art sculpture. If you don’t know about this Danish activist, you might want to follow the link above.

 

Northern Germany and Denmark

You know you’re in Germany when cars blow past you at 90+ mph. This occurred about 10 minutes after we entered the country! We had quite a long day’s drive utilizing Autobahns, country roads, and highways through several villages, towns and cities.

We eventually camped near the old harbour of Wischhafen.

This donation-only camping area is busy because of it’s conveniently located near the ferry dock.

Coastal shipping used to be an important part of life here, but I don’t think these boats have seen much activity lately.

Apparently this is all that is left of the good ship Manna built in 1918.

The Kehdinger Coastal Shipping Museum is just down the street.

Taking this 20-minute ferry ride across the River Elbe avoids potentially hellish traffic around Hamburg, so it is very popular. The wait was 3 hours long when we arrived on Friday afternoon. Luckily we were not planning to cross until the next morning. At that time we drove directly onboard.

Friedrichstadt features historic stepped gables and scenic canals.

We stopped here for a walk-about and lunch that was less than remarkable. At least the parking was free and conveniently located.

Really?

More lovely buildings in Friedrichstadt.

Later that afternoon we entered Denmark for what should have been a lovely drive up the West Coast. Unfortunately, heavy winds and rain precluded much outdoor activity. While still very windy, the next day was much nicer as we headed into the ancient city of Ribe.

Quintessential Danish architecture abounds.

The Ribe Cathedral was founded in the Viking Era as the first Christian church in Denmark.

Beautiful door handle on the cathedral.

The funky mosaics created in the 1980s by artist Carl-Henning Pedersen enliven the church and add a fascinating contrast to the more sombre features.

The facade of this organ was designed by renowned 17th-century sculptor Jens Olufsen.

The core of the cathedral is decidedly Romanesque, a fine example of medieval Rhineland influences in architecture (according to the experts).

We were fortunate to tour on a Sunday morning when the city center was not terribly busy.

 

A Quick Drive Through Holland

After our relaxing ferry crossing from England, we landed at The Hook, Holland in the early evening. We headed directly north to Katwijk where our Boondockers Welcome host Yvonne welcomed us warmly. She is the caretaker for a small Jewish cemetery, which provided a very peaceful campsite for two nights.

These campers were very quiet during our stay.

We were introduced to Johan and Loes (above), who live nearby, via email by fellow travelers and bloggers (jdjdtravelmore.wordpress.com), Jim and Jane Durant. They graciously treated us to a wonderful outing. We could not have imagined a better introduction to Holland.

After a classic Dutch lunch at their home, we boarded their boat for a trip along picturesque canals.

It was a beautiful afternoon out on the water.

We docked at the charming town of Leiden. It felt like a mini version of Amsterdam.

We were lucky to be there on a Wednesday, one of two market days each week.

The quality and variety of fresh foods at the street market is quite impressive. We were told that the Saturday market is even bigger.

Here they were selling olives, hummus, and other Middle Eastern treats.

Yvonne took this photo of us in her driveway before we departed. Our stay in this area was brief but most enjoyable. Thank you to all who made it possible.

Our ultimate destination is Norway, so we headed northward to cross the 32 kilometer Afsluitdijk causeway that was built in 1927 – 1932. This provides a protected entrance to the harbour at Amsterdam.

Our next (and last) overnight in Holland was at a rather unique harbour campground within the National Park Lauwersmeer on the northern shore. We enjoyed watching boats of all types pass by.

The owners of this campground have created a very comfortable and homey atmosphere. This is the somewhat quirky common area for cooking, dining, and socializing.

Our view as the day came to an end. We passed through Holland quickly this time, but we may spend more time on our return. Right now we want to get to Norway before summer ends.

 

 

 

Say Goodbye to the United Kingdom

Once we decided to leave the United Kingdom, we pretty much headed directly south. Fortunately, we have two sets of acquaintances that reside along the way.

We originally met Di and Terry in 2009 during lunch in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. In 2016 we visited them at their beautiful house in Nelson, New Zealand and this time at their lovely canal-side home in Bingley, England. One of the joys of traveling is meeting folks and subsequently having paths cross again…and again. This is the first time we’ve done so on three different continents! In addition to being gracious hosts, they to us on a lovely tour around their area of West Yorkshire. Thank you!

We camped in the boatyard across the canal from their home.

Looking across the canal from our campsite towards their home with a traditional narrow boat in the foreground.

This narrow boat serves as a mobile floating snack stand.

This beautiful set of locks was close by. Towpaths provide a very nice place to walk or peddle.

The lock keepers office.

These former stables now serve as a sweet little cafe.

Heading out again we found that the roads (and traffic) in Southern England are substantially busier than in Scotland. Definitely not our preference.

Wait a minute…did we take a wrong turn?

A little taste of what’s to come in Holland? This large windmill is located in Boston, England. Not sure why. It wasn’t open the day we were there, but I thought it merited a photograph.

The traffic was even worse when we got near the shore in Norfolk.

We didn’t let this sign at South Beach Heacham dissuade us from camping here, as wild camping options in this popular area are scarce.

Just seven British Pounds for 24 hours parking, but no camping or sleeping in vehicles. We wouldn’t do that (haha). Had the place to ourselves overnight.

With this beach just a few feet away.

Colorful beach cabanas.

It’s finally warm enough to eat breakfast outside!

We really must be lost now!

Our next stop was by invitation from our new friend Helga who we met on the Isle of Skye earlier this summer. Towards the end of our drive to her home, we were feeling a bit apprehensive.

Once off the highway, our GPS sent us through this farmer’s field.

Then down this country lane.

And eventually down this partially paved drive with many low hanging branches. Hope we can make it!

We let out a sigh of relief when we finally reached Helga and Graham’s lovely country home.

Our welcoming hosts provided a full-service campsite plus delicious meals. By the end of our two night visit we felt like old friends. Thank you!

Helga and I went into Chelmsford to do a little shopping. While there we stopped into this Cathedral for a quick look around.

These stained glass windows inside the cathedral are dedicated to American Armed Forces that assisted England in World War II.

On our way to the ferry terminal in Harwich, we stopped in Colchester, the oldest city in England. We had a nice walk around Castle Park where we came upon this intricate topiary display.

Stena Line is one of the largest ferry operators in the world. This ship is huge and quite luxurious.

We felt like we were going on a cruise as we departed.

The price to reserve a private cabin for the seven hour daytime crossing was so reasonable we popped for one and were really glad we did. The view, the hot shower, and the solitude were well worth the additional cost. Al took a good long nap while I worked on trip planning.

England begins to fade into the distance.

Our last look at England is the old port at Harwich. Holland here we come! 

 

Our Last Few Days in Scotland

Back on the East Coast we briefly visited Stonehaven where we had lunch overlooking the harbour.

This end-of-the-road camp site was at Catterline Bay. Another dramatic setting we had all to ourselves overnight.

This fisherman went out through the fog at dawn. He returned a few hours later with a good catch of crabs and lobsters.

Yikes!

Tight parking in St. Andrews. We were lucky to get a space. Al had to pull up onto the sidewalk to get in off the street, which also required a bit of maneuvering around the pay parking machine.

This ice cream shop claims to be world-famous, but we’d never heard of it. The gelato was worth the wait in line. Two delicious scoops: salted chocolate and passion fruit sorbet!

Coffee is the only flavor for Al.

What swims in the sea, carries a machine gun, and makes you an offer you can’t refuse? The Codfather. Saw that joke at the MacDuff Aquarium a couple of weeks ago.

St. Andrews Cathedral must have been tremendous. It’s still pretty spectacular even in ruins.

Typical street in St. Andrews – on the way to the ruins of the castle.

Our next overnight stop was very different. Lots of charm and pride evident in the village of Pittenweem….and no crowds! Many of the picturesque houses around the harbour are of traditional Fife design with red pantile  roofs with crow-step gables.

It felt a bit like Greece to me with the white wash and steep hills.

Flags and decorations were part of the preparations for their annual art festival.

The harbour is the main focus of the village, particularly early each morning when the fishing boats return with their catch and the daily fish market gets underway.

Taverns, bistros, and shops face the harbour.

We had our ice cream in St. Andrews but this shop was very popular with local children.

Many historic stone buildings line the streets that climb the rocky hill above the harbour.

St Fillan’s Cave is one of the most significant sites for the Christian Church in Scotland.

And that concludes our totally amazing 10-week tour of Scotland. We are now heading to Harwich, England to catch a ferry to Holland and beyond. Stay tuned.